Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.
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When Nancy Robertson was diagnosed with cancer in 1999 she had up days and she had down days but the one constant was her cocker spaniel Chloe. "My little dog never left my side," she said. "She would lay right next to me." Robertson said she and Chloe got into a routine where every morning after her husband Mike left for work, Chloe would come lay in bed with her. "She would lay her little head on my pillow and look at me with her beautiful brown eyes," she said.
Just as the dust has begun to settle over expansion of the Spanish immersion program, the topic is once again on the minds of District 833 leaders. Earlier this school year, District 833 School Board initiated discussions on how to expand the elementary Spanish immersion at Nuevas Fronteras, housed in Crestview Elementary. Options included moving students out of their home school so Spanish immersion could have a freestanding building. Discussions fizzled in December 2010 after parents and schools expressed their severe frustration with the options.
Primrose School of Woodbury will be adding a little color to the new CityWalk Apartments development. The early education center will be building a community garden when the housing development opens this fall. "We wanted to have something that would tie the community of CityWalk together and that would invite the neighbors," Primrose owner Tonya Holt said. "We wanted to make sure we had something pretty and pleasing and friendly for all of Woodbury to enjoy." Primrose will be raising money for the community garden during its Spring Fling from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
In today's society, students come in contact with many different cultures whether it's in the classroom, on the field or out in the community. But more often than not, students don't necessarily get the chance to take the time to understand these diverse cultures. Woodbury Middle School is hoping to change that with its new after-school group, Culture Club. Social studies teacher Laurie Beebe and specialist Shelly Fessler said they decided to start Culture Club, which meets from 2:30 to 4 p.m. every Monday, because it was a chance for students to be exposed to different cultures.
It's a common question for anyone who has adopted a child: "Mommy, did I grow in your tummy?" For some parents that may be among the hardest questions to answer, but Cameron and Vachelle Johnston think they've found the perfect answer: "No honey, you grew in our hearts." "Just because you didn't come from my tummy, that doesn't mean I am not your mom," Vachelle said. The Johnstons, who are members of King of Kings Lutheran Church in Woodbury, have released their first book, "You Grew in Our Hearts," a children's book to help talk to children about their adoption.
Afton's annual Fourth of July Parade could be less political this summer. Afton City Council approved two recommendations during its April 19 meeting presented by the Fourth of July Committee. The first recommendation was to increase the vendor fee from $30 to $50. "Compared to other parades, this is not unreasonable," Mayor Pat Snyder said. The second recommendation City Council voted on was to charge politicians a $50 fee to march in the parade. Previously Afton did not charge politicians and according to Council Member Peg Nolz Afton was the only parade that didn't.
Now that the agreement for the Merill Community Arts Center, which will be attached to East Ridge High School, has been approved by District 833 School Board, it's time to move forward for Arts Connection. "It's been a long road," Arts Connection vice president Michelle Witte said. Witte said the arts center will be a great asset for the arts community since it will give opportunity to showcase local artists. "The No. 1 benefit is to provide a home for showcasing the artists in our community," Witte said.
High students have graduations, elementary students have carnivals, but what do early education students have for recognition? Some local educators attempted to answer that question last week during "Week of the Young Child." "I don't think enough recognition happens," said executive program director Kathy Sjursen with Kinderberry Hill Child Development Center. "It really does highlight the value of early childhood education and celebrate the lives of children." What is WOYC?
Woodbury resident Trina Dawkins Patterson can add the title "author" to her resume. Patterson's first book, "A Tale of Two Cookies," was released in early March. "This is my first time going down this path and it's been a good experience," Patterson said. "What I've enjoyed most is just seeing the children and how they respond to the book." Patterson visited Liberty Ridge Elementary, where her son is a fourth-grader, on April 8 for a reading of her book. Small book, big message "A Tale of Two Cookies" tells the story of Lydie, a lemon cookie, and Ola, and oatmeal cookie.
It was prom night for East Ridge High School students Saturday. East Ridge High School held its second-annual prom, "Casino Royale," at the Prom Center in Oakdale on April 16. This year's prom included appetizers, desserts, drinks and even casino games to go along with the "Casino Royale" prom theme. The décor also played up the casino theme with dice, cards and poker chip accents. Dealers from the company Aces High had Blackjack and Texas Hold 'Em tables set up during he prom. Students were played for raffle tickets to win picture frames, gift cards and East Ridge apparel.